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Les Petits Chefs make gnocchi at The Gallery Grill

Looking out the window of Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis week we were lucky enough to check out beautiful The Gallery Grill at Hart House in The University of Toronto and cook with Chef Suzanne Baby.

Gallery Grill bar on eatlivetravelwrite.comOver the years, club has been lucky enough to cook with Suzanne four times before – the first time we made choux pastry, the second visit was a ravioli-making extravaganza, third time we made soufflés and in the spring we made two soups together.

The setting inside Hart House is very “Harry-Potter-esque” and it’s always great to see the boys’ reactions when they walk through the building to get to the restaurant. There’s definitely a lot of the “WOW” factor!

Dining halls at Hart House on eatlivetravelwrite.com Wine glasses at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comIn terms of cooking… Soufflé! Choux Pastry! Ricottoa! Hear that?  All “Meant to be difficult” (according to some) recipes and certainly not dishes many people would think about tackling with a dozen (or more) boys in a tiny kitchen in just over an hour… But Suzanne is not “most people”. She is exceptional in that she (as most of the chefs we work with) shares my high expectations of the boys and is always up for the challenge of cooking something “above and beyond” in an hour!

This week she chose to make ricotta gnocchi – a Gallery Grill special, so I can’t post the recipe – which was a wonderful hands-on recipe that kept everyone busy… We measured flour…

Kids measuring flour at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.com Levelling flour at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comMeasured ricotta and made sure to consult the recipe a few times to ensure we were including all the ingredients.

Kids reading ricotta gnocchi recipe at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comWhisked our eggs and ricotta…

Mixing ricotta gnocchi at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comTeam work at its finest right here:

Kids mixing ricotta gnocchi at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd then I turned around and saw this:

Kids mixing ricotta gnocchi by hand at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut the recipe said to mix with your hands,”  said the boy. Um, actually the recipe said “mix by hand” 😉

As a recipe writer working on my first book, this was a huge learning moment for me. The importance of writing a recipe to say precisely what you mean as well as the irony of the boys paying such close attention to a recipe (not always the case in, say, French class) was not lost on me. I always think we need more cooking in the classroom because everyone does pay such close attention!

(so, I’d have written “Use a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula to combine the flour with the wet ingredients”)

Once we’d incorporated all the flour (and washed our hands), we got to forming our gnocchi. Suzanne showed the boys how to form them by scooping up a bit of the dough with their hands and using a spoon to form little logs…

Boiling ricotta gnocchi at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comAgain, it was a moment when I wondered if there was a way that I could incorporate gnocchi-making into French classes… 😉

Kids working in the kitchen at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comSuzanne added a bright tomato sauce and some parsley to the gnocchi once it was cooked…

Ricotta gnocchi with tomato sauce at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd the result:Kids enjoy ricotta gnocchi at the Gallery Grill on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe boys LOVED this. Came back for seconds (even thirds) and took home a hearty portion too!

Thanks to Chef Suzanne and her team for welcoming us into the kitchens yet again (on the day when you were hosting a big dinner too!). The boys had a blast, learned a wonderful, easy and tasty recipe and got to cook in a pretty darned cool kitchen! We are so lucky 🙂

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